Something about that particular day was off, yet at the same time, so normal.
I’m sure everything about that day would have been routine- waking up, going to school, waiting for school to end, coming back from school, doing homework, playing with the neighbors, etc.
But it wasn’t.
I recall the teachers that day being protective towards students like myself during our second recess, and it wasn’t until towards the end of the school day; an hour or so after calamity, that an announcement on the intercom was made -a tragic event had occurred that would forever change the world.
September 11th, 2001- a day never to be forgotten as it sparked a mass awakening across the world.
Now being as young as I was, I only knew that the twin towers (the World Trade Center), in the glorious city of New York was attacked by two major U.S. air carriers as they were hijacked by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda. I was completely innocent to the attack, but to a good portion of the world- those with brown skin or affiliated with those of brown skin weren’t.
At the time, I may not have realized it, but every and any move we took was being watched. For children, we were sheltered and over-protected if we looked innocent enough, but for most of my peers of darker brown descent, that wasn’t enough. People closest to me lived in fear for the world started to look at us with third eye- blame, anger, confusion, questions- anything to really vent out their frustrations towards what had happened.
For the longest time, I lived in a bubble when it came to the outside world. I lived in a neighborhood primarily populated of the Caucasian descent and since the attack of 9/11- well, lets just say that I never really saw any of my neighborhood friends again…
I never took to notice these little things until now, 15 years after the event. Being an adult, the events still prolong in our day to day life- especially with the heist of the recent presidential election. During my college days, applying to jobs was oftentimes difficult. Those of lighter descent would be given first preference over me- even if I matched all the qualifications of the job. Still to this day, it unfortunately still applies, but that is why our voice needs to be heard. Rather than suppress who we are, embrace ourselves and our brown skin or whatever skin color you identify with. Being the ‘ABPD’ that I am- I will not stand for such an intolerance in our communities.
I know I probably sounded rather harsh but this is the past and present reality of what was 9/11. We must also remember that it was a day where we all saw bravery at its highest level. It’s the one day where people all across the world care more for the devastating losses of their country than the politics. It’s a day of unity, strength, sacrifice, and vigilance. The brave men and women of NYFD, NYPD, and others sacrifices their lives in order to save those still inside the burning, collapsing building. The United States pushed through the hard times and persevered- and I hope it will continue to do so.
(The image above was back to when I visited the One World Trade Center late last year. This structure would be main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center. The eerie calmness of this place is chilling to the bone, but a cleanse to the soul as it shall always be a constant reminder of what was…)
(Feature Image Courtesy: modernreject)